IPSO: WHO HAVE BEEN THE WORST OFFENDERS?

So The Sun has been made to issue a correction following its incorrect reporting on a survey about Muslims late last year (see here). But which publications have been the most repeat offenders in transgressing the Editors’ Code of Practice since the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) replaced the PCC as press regulator in 2014?

IPSO publishes details of all the rulings on its website, which gives us the chance to do a very brief analysis of the data. Below are some statistics on six of Britain’s daily newspapers – The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and The Times.

The Guardian, The Independent and the Financial Times have all oped not to sign up to IPSO due to concerns that that it is not independent enough and there has been criticism of the regulator in its handling of complaints, so this analysis has to be taken with a pinch of salt as it’s analysing what is widely regarded as an imperfect system. However, it does give us the chance for an overview of what has happened to date, which is useful particularly as papers have a tendency to try and slip their corrections discretely past the public by burying them in a tiny corner on page 38. The article will end with a selection of some of the verdicts passed. In my opinion, the more exposure these transgressions get, the better.

Just a quick note about the Editors’ Code of Practice. This blog is mainly concerned with issues of accuracy in reporting, but the code has numerous other clauses that complainants can file under, including privacy, harrassment, discrimination and confidentiality. See here for full details.

Let’s start by having a look at the number of overall complaints lodged against the six papers. As can be seen in the table below, The Mail has had the most complaints against it with 58, followed by The Telegraph at 42, The Times and The Mirror on 28 each, The Express on 23 and finally (and some may feel surprisingly) The Sun on 19.

IPSO1But obviously that’s the gross number of complaints irrespective of outcomes and rulings. The below table breaks the complaints for each paper down into 3 sections – red column where the complaint has been upheld (i.e. where IPSO ruled that the Code of Practice had been breached and the paper had to print an apology notice); blue column where the complaint has not been upheld; and green column where the paper acknowledged its error and printed a Resolution Statement that the complainant was satisfied with, meaning that an IPSO ruling was not required.

So the key two columns are really the first two – complaint upheld and resolution statement – as these are where papers have transgressed the code, either by their own admission or by IPSO ruling. Here we can see that The Telegraph and The Express have had the most complaints against them upheld (8 each), followed by The Times (7), The Sun (5) and The Mail and The Mirror on 3 each.

Interestingly, The Mail has the greatest number of overall complaints against it but the (equal) lowest number of complaints upheld. But looking at the number of resolution statements offered, it is again out in front (by quite a margin) with 25. This suggests that The Mail has been most keen, or maybe more effective, in resolving its disputes before IPSO intervene (perhaps to keep its figures low regarding IPSO rulings). Elsewhere with resolution statements, we have The Telegraph on 9, The Mirror on 7, The Times on 5, The Express on 3 and The Sun on 2.

 

IPSO2If we then add the columns on complaints upheld and resolution statements, we can get a clearer picture on how many times each paper has transgressed the Editors’ Code of Practice since IPSO has been established (see below table). The Mail heads the field with 28 cases, followed by The Telegraph (17), The Times (12), The Express (11), The Mirror (10) and The Sun (7).

 

IPSO3One further issue should be addressed. Some may feel that one of the problems with this analysis is that it’s assessing publications with wide variations in circulation figures. It’s almost impossible to tell what impact this has on the figures as often the complainants are not among the regular readers of the publications they’re complaining against and one would imagine that if a paper published something that was worthy of a complaint, then it would get picked up on and a complaint would be registered regardless of circulation.

Still, it does feel a bit odd comparing The Sun with an average daily circulation of 1.86million against The Times with a circulation of 400,000. The easiest way of accounting for this is to work out the number of readers per complaint. So for example, if a publication had an average daily circulation of 1,000 and it had 10 complaints upheld, we could say that it works out as 1 complaint for every 100 readers.

Average daily circulation figures are below. We can see that The Sun is the biggest selling daily, followed by The Mail, then a big gap to The Mirror (just under half the circulation of The Sun), the another drop to The Telegraph, The Express and The Times who all have similar figures.

 

IPSO4In terms of readers per positive complaints (complaints upheld plus resolution statements), we can see that The Telegraph has the worst result with the fewest number of readers per complaint at 1 complaint for every 28,824 readers, followed by The Times (1 complaint per 33,333 readers), The Express (1 complaint per 39,091 readers), The Mail (1 complaint per 61,071 readers), The Mirror (1 complaint every 90,000 readers) and The Sun (1 complaint per 265,714 readers). See table below.

 

IPSO5This has been just a basic presentation of quantitative data and has not set out to prove anything. There are a number of limitations which prevents it from being any serious analysis into the performance of papers, for example it hasn’t looked at the nature or type of complaints made. Plus as has already been mentioned, there have been question marks over the adequacy of IPSO as a thorough press regulator.

To finish off, here is a short summary of some of the upheld complaints and resolution statements to date. A full list of IPSO rulings can be found here and resolution statements can be found here.

 

DAILY EXPRESS ‘SCHOOL FORCES CHILDREN TO COOK AND CLEAN FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS FOR WORK EXPERIENCE’ (16 Oct 2015)

Report on a German school who had taken a group of children to do some work experience at an asylum centre. The project had taken place but had been the idea of the children themselves and they had not been forced to do so. The Express article omitted this information which was in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and the paper was required to publish a correction.

 

THE SUN ‘COURT JEZTER’ (15 Sept 2015)

Front page article claiming that new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will ‘kiss the Queen’s hand to grab £6.2m’, relating to a claim that Mr Corbyn had agreed to join the Privy Council in order to access £6.2m of state ‘short money’ for opposition parties. The complaint was raised due to the fact that membership of the Privy Council is not connected to access to this funding. The Sun was found guilty of breaching Clause 1 (accuracy) and was required to publish a correction on the front page.

 

DAILY EXPRESS ‘311 LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN OUR SCHOOLS’ (24 July 2015)

Front page article claiming that English was ‘dying out’ in some classrooms, that English is ‘hardly heard at all’ in some schools, that English-speaking pupils are ‘becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms’ and that lessons are not taught in English in some schools. The investigation found these claims to be false. The data used by the paper, obtained from the Dept. of Education, related to the number of pupils whose first language is not English rather than pupils who could not speak English, as reported by the paper. The ruling found the paper in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and it was required to publish a correction on the front page.

 

DAILY TELEGRAPH ‘GOVE COULD NOT GET X-RAY FOR BROKEN FOOT’ (23 July 2015)

Report that Michael Gove had been unable to get an x-ray on a suspected broken foot because ‘NHS radiology departments are closed on Sundays’. However, Mr Gove had not received an x-ray because he had visited the Minor Injuries unit rather than the Accident and Emergency clinic where radiology departments are open 24 hours a day for emergencies. The paper publish a prompt correction upon receiving the complaint.

 

DAILY MIRROR ‘MURDERED SOLDIER LEE RIGBY’S FIANCEE ‘FINDS HAPPINESS’ WITH HIS ARMY PAL’ (12 April 2015)

Article on the relationship between Lee Rigby’s fiancee Aimee West and Major Paul Draper which claimed that the two had been on several dates together and that their relationship was ‘common knowledge’, among several other inaccuracies. The paper was found in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and published a correction.

 

DAILY TELEGRAPH ‘4 IN 10 TEENAGE E-CIGARETTE USERS WOULD NOT HAVE SMOKED, WARN HEALTH EXPERTS’ (31 March 2015)

The article misreported on research into e-cigarette use by teenagers. The paper claimed that the teenagers in the study ‘would never have smoked’ whereas they were people who had not smoked to date. The claim that the study participants were e-cigarette users was also misleading as the researchers had only asked ‘have you ever bought or tried electronic cigarettes?‘. The paper was found in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and was required to publish a correction.

 

DAILY TELEGRAPH ‘STURGEON’S SECRET BACKING FOR CAMERON’ (4 April 2015)

Article about a leaked government memorandum claiming that First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said that she would rather see David Cameron win the general election than Ed Miliband in a private meeting with French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann. The information turned out to be incorrect and the paper published a correction.

 

DAILY MIRROR ‘ACCOUNTANT FUNDED HER 25K PLASTIC SURGERY BILL BY SELLING FAKE GHD HAIR STRAIGHTENERS’ (15 Oct 2014)

Maddison Hawk, sole director of the company Perfect Strand, complained on the grounds that her cosmetic surgery had been completed before the hair appliances had gone on sale. The counterfeit GHD-branded products had been withdrawn by Trading Standards before any sales had taken place and she was fined over £8,000. The paper was found in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and was required to publish a correction.

 

THE TIMES ‘LABOUR’S £1,000 TAX ON FAMILIES’ (24 April 2015)

Front page article that incorrectly calculated that Labour tax proposals for the general election would cost all working families £1,000 per year. The actual proposals were to raise money primarily from companies, the richest individuals and high earning families, with lower income families not affected at all. The paper was found in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and was required to publish a correction, which it had already tried to do discretely in a Corrections & Clarifications column on page 24. IPSO ruled that a more prominent correction was required, with a reference to the correction on the front page.

 

DAILY EXPRESS ‘MONSTERS ARE GIVEN THEIR OWN CELL KEYS’ (25 January 2015)

Front page article reporting that many prisoners now have ‘privacy locks’ on their cells. The sub-headline claimed that ‘Ian Huntley and Rose West are virtually roaming at will’. However, this was misleading as the article explained further down on page 2 that the privacy locks are merely to protect belongings when the prisoners leave the cells. Prison officers have security keys which override the privacy locks, preventing prisoners from roaming free at will. The paper tried to get away with a discrete correction buried away on page 30 but was required by IPSO to publish a correction again on page 2.

 

DAILY EXPRESS ‘CLIMATE CHANGE CLAIMED TO BE ‘NOTHING BUT A LIE’, CLAIMS TOP METEOROLOGIST’ (23 Oct 2014)

Article incorrectly reporting that the InterAcademy Council had dismissed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims about global warming. The paper was found in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy) and was required to publish a correction. The claims in the original article had been repeated on other websites that are not members of IPSO.

 

DAILY MIRROR ‘BETRAYAL OF OUR BABIES’ (25 November 2015)

Article misreporting on a study into stillborns and early deaths, claiming that 770 babies delivered in NHS hospitals at weekends are stillborn or die within 7 days of the birth, which was 7.3% more than during the week. The actual study had only compared death rates of babies born on a Tuesday with those born on other days, and had found that there were 770 more deaths per year across the week than what would be expected if the rate was the same as for Tuesdays. The paper published a resolution statement on page 2 that the complainant was happy with.

 

DAILY TELEGRAPH ‘1,000 CHARITIES ‘SPEND LESS THAN HALF’ OF FUNDS ON GOOD WORKS’ (12 December 2015)

Article reporting on research carried out by the True and Fair Foundation into where charity money goes. The article was misleading as it conflated total income with money received in donations. As many charities derive a sizeable percentage of their income from trading, a proportion of that will be reinvested to cover trading costs and will not get recorded as charitable expenditure. The paper published a correction on page 2 which satisfied the complainant, meaning IPSO did not have to make a ruling.

 

THE SUN ‘DOC THEIR PAY’ (5 November 2015)

Article concerning the dispute between junior doctors and the Dept. of Health which incorrectly stated that junior doctors could dictate the amount of overtime they work and misreported on a British Medical Paper about patient death rates at weekends. The paper published a correction that satisfied the complainant in advance of an IPSO ruling.

 

DAILY MAIL ‘BRITAIN’S TOP LEGAL OFFICER ADMITS HE ‘DOESN’T KNOW’ IF UK WILL STILL BE SIGNED UP TO EU HUMAN RIGHTS LAW BY 2020′ (16 September 2015)

Article inaccurately stating that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is EU law when the ECHR is not part of the EU. The paper published a correction that satisfied the complainant before an IPSO ruling.

 

DAILY MAIL ‘DOUGHNUTS AND PIZZAS ON THE NHS’ (17 August 2015)

Article that reported that £116m had been spent by the NHS on gluten-free junk food, whereas £116m was the total spent by the NHS on foods for all special diets. The amount spent on gluten-free foods was £26.8m and this was generally only for people with coeliac disease. The paper published a correction that satisfied the complainant.

 

THE TIMES ‘IT’S COMMON SENSE: KILL THE RATS, MOVE THE BATS’ (26 January 2015)

Article about controlling wildlife populations that made a number of inaccurate statements about bats. The paper published a correction that satisfied the complainant in advance of an IPSO ruling.

 

DAILY MAIL ‘GYPSY GREAT GRANDFATHER’S BODY COULD BE EXHUMED BECAUSE RELATIVES OF MUSLIM IN NEIGHBOURING PLOT DON’T WANT HIM BURIED NEXT TO AN UNBELIEVER’ (10 February 2015)

Article that was also reported with the headline DIG UP GRANDDAD, HE’S NOT A MUSLIM, relating to a reported dispute over burials at Burbage Cemetery. The article claimed that Burbage Parish Council were meeting to discuss exhumation of the body, however the Council lodged a complaint that this was entirely false. The claims were found to be unsubstantiated claims that came from the non-Muslim family. The paper published a correction and also amended the original article online to the satisfaction of the complainant, meaning that an IPSO ruling was not required.

 

*If you would like to register a complaint with a publication that is registered with IPSO, click here for details of the complaints procedure.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

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MORE RUBBISH FROM THE SUN ABOUT PEOPLE BEING OFFENDED BY EASTER

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It’s the religious festival season, and one of the more unsavoury modern customs associated with such occasion is the made-up tabloid article about the festival offending groups of people.

Step forward perennial offender The Sun, with this year’s offering about shops selling Easter eggs. OUTRAGE AS EASTER EGGS ARE RENAMED TO AVOID OFFENDING OTHER RELIGIONS, barks the headline. The object of the paper’s ire appears to be a Cadbury’s chocolate egg pack that has changed its name from Easter Egg Trail Pack to Egg Hunt Pack (pictured).

As with the storm in a coffee cup last Christmas when Starbucks committed the crime of issuing a seasonal cup that wasn’t sufficiently Christmassy for some, the reasons given for the change are ‘political correctness‘.

However, there is almost nothing in the article to suggest that shops or manufacturers are making any kind of move whatsoever to remove the word ‘Easter‘ from products or displays. Most of the article focuses on a charity organisation The Meaningful Chocolate Company who have started selling more religion-oriented Easter eggs to combat the perceived distancing by manufacturers from any religious association.

There are also some comments from the Bishop of Salisbury about fighting to stop the festival turning secular. But nothing about these other religions who are supposedly so offended by Easter that they can’t even bear to see the word printed on products or shop displays.

The Sun claims that Cadbury’s, Nestle and Sainsbury have all removed the word Easter in recent years. However, they don’t seem to have done a very good job as the word still appears all over their products, as can be seen on the websites for all three: Cadbury’s, Nestle and Sainsbury.

Meanwhile, supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose are stocking the Meaningful Chocolate Real Easter Egg, which comes complete with the Christian story of Easter. It’s been retailing for five years, with no known incidences of other religious groups being offended by it in any way.

As for the offending Cadbury’s product: it’s far more likely the word Easter has been removed so that the product can be more easily sold all year round, rather than just at Easter time. So capitalism rather than political correctness. Not that it’s likely to stop The Sun from writing articles designed to make small-minded people get angry about nothing.

Original Sun article available here:

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

TABLOID PRESS REPORTS ON BEGGARS MAKING £43K A YEAR, BUT WHERE DID THEY GET THE FIGURES FROM?

beggars

(Photo: Kenneth Allen)

A story has appeared in a few of the tabloids over the past couple of days about a group of beggars in the Gloucester and Stroud area who are reportedly making up to £120 a day, or £43k a year.

The story ran in The Daily Mail (‘GANG OF BEGGARS ARE EARNING UP TO £43K A YEAR DESPITE NOT EVEN BEING HOMELESS’) and The Daily Express (‘FAKE BEGGARS COULD BE CONNING YOU OUT OF CASH: ‘VAGRANTS’ EARNING £120 A DAY’) on Thursday before being picked up by The Sun (‘SCANDAL OF ‘HOMELESS’ BEGGARS CONNING £43K TO LIVE IT UP ON BOOZE AND DRUGS’) on Friday.

All three reports cited police chiefs as saying a group of thirteen beggars were making these amounts of money. Yet the quotes from two police inspectors that appeared in the articles mentioned nothing about finances raised.

The inspectors said that a number of businesses and residents had made statements after being approached. They also spoke of concerns that money was being spent on drugs and alcohol and that many ‘don’t live on the streets but have some form of accommodation‘ before going on to add that police were working with local homeless charities to help people get necessary support.

But nothing in the statements of either Inspector Steve Wood or Inspector Andy Poole said anything about £43k a year, or indeed any amounts of money, being raised. So where were these figures obtained from, or have they just been spun out of thin air?

Interestingly, all three articles featured interviews with locals outraged that street beggars were making these large sums of money that exceeded their own salaries. So they must have been given the figures by the reporter(s) during the interview. Were members of the public being provoked with bogus statistics?

If papers want to run stories about the police dealing with issues of begging and homelessness, fair enough. But are the tabloids playing hard and fast with the truth once again, misleading the public with a sensationalised version of events?

I have contacted Gloucestershire Police for a statement of clarification and will post an update when I get a reply.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

 

ARCHBISHOP SAYS BRITAIN SHOULD TAKE IN MORE REFUGEES, SO WHY DID ALL OF BRITAIN’S MEDIA FOCUS ON ANOTHER MINOR THING HE SAID?

archbishop-of-canterbury

(Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

If you want an insight into how the media works, take a look at how they have reported this week on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (pictured).

The Archbishop gave an interview with Parliament’s The House magazine, largely about the forthcoming EU referendum but also focusing on the refugee crisis and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

Speaking about the refugee situation, he said that Britain should be taking a greater share of Europe’s refugees, he praised the efforts that have been made to help with the crisis at local community level, and he also mentioned that those concerned about the impacts of immigration shouldn’t be dismissed as racist.

All valid points. However, it seems that the entire British media were only interested in the last of the three.

From newspapers on the right using the Archbishop’s words to vindicate their own scaremongering coverage of migration issues to newspapers on the left trying to demonise him for daring to make such a statement, every report on the interview isolated his comments on not labelling people racist – occasionally twisting what he said and often either burying the other points he made deep down in the article or ignoring them completely.

OK, these papers are in the business of shifting units. Head of Church of England wades into debate on racism is probably more attention-grabbing than printing his sympathetic comments towards refugees which he is fairly well-known for anyway. But, reading the press coverage, you can see agendas at work and it’s a pity that not one single publication chose to take a different angle.

I found myself thinking, if it were me who had given that interview, how would I feel about the way it had been represented in the media? The answer: a bit cheated. But then we know the way that journalists work, I guess.

You can read the full original article here. I have printed below the extract from the interview about refugees, to give some context. Quite reasonable and measured sentiments, in my opinion. I’ve put in brackets where the interviewer hasn’t used direct quotes from the Archbishop.

I was in Berlin, and the churches there are doing the most extraordinary things, as are the German people. They took 1.1m last year. And it does make 20,000 over several years sound really very thin.

What the government is doing in the refugee camps and at the origin of the issue is really excellent. We’re taking an extraordinary lead there. It shows what we can do. Can we not show the same capacity and strength here, as we do there?

We have to be careful. I’m aware of the complexity. The Government is rightly concerned about effectively subsidising people smuggling. That is quite proper, that could make everything worse.

But we can’t pretend we’re not part of this issue. We’ve got to find ways of taking our share of the load.

(Concerns about the pressure new arrivals could place on communities and services are entirely legitimate). There is a tendency to say ‘those people are racist’, which is just outrageous, absolutely outrageous. Fear is a valid emotion at a time of such colossal crisis. This is one of the greatest movements of people in human history. Just enormous. And to be anxious about that is very reasonable

In fragile communities particularly – and I’ve worked in many areas with very fragile communities over my time as a clergyman – there is a genuine fear: what happens about housing? What happens about jobs? What happens about access to health services? There is a genuine fear. And it is really important that that fear is listened to and addressed. There have to be resources put in place that address those fears.

(Local communities have) demonstrated an enormous capacity (to deal with the refugee crisis at a “micro” level.) It is simply a question of the scale on which we are prepared to act, in a way that spreads the load so it can be managed.

(Talking about Romney Marsh, one of the poorest parts of his own diocese) In that area they’ve taken significant numbers of unaccompanied children. I was down there recently at one of the schools, the Marsh Academy, and it was hugely moving to see the way that a scattered community in a rural area, with many issues of their own, had been able to welcome people. These kids, their sense of being cared for and loved was extraordinary.

That demonstrates what we’re able to do. Fear is justified, I wouldn’t want to criticise that for a moment, but so is hope wholly justified, because we have the capacity. We’re those kind of people, we always have been. But it needs the organisation, it needs the macro and it needs to happen at a European level.

And below are the newspaper headlines about the interview, together with links through to the actual articles if you wish to read them.

Daily Mail: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SAYS PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO FEAR THE MIGRANT INFLUX. Refers to the Archbishop’s ‘powerful intervention‘ on the migration debate. Puts the remarks about Britain doing more to help refugees right near the end of the article.

Daily Express: BRITISH CITIZENS HAVE A RIGHT TO ‘FEAR’ MIGRANT CRISIS. Adds that the Archbishop said that people have the right to fear ‘mass immigration and refugees‘. Puts the remarks about Britain doing more to help refugees right near the end of the article.

BBC website: MIGRATION FEARS NOT RACIST – ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY. Does also mention the comments about helping refugees early on in the article.

The Guardian: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: IT’S REASONABLE TO FEAR ‘COLOSSAL’ MIGRANT CRISIS. Mentions the comments about helping refugees fairly early on.

Telegraph: PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO FEAR ‘ENORMOUS’ NUMBERS OF MIGRANTS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SAYS. Puts the remarks about Britain doing more to help refugees right near the end of the article.

Independent: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SPARKS BACKLASH ONLINE AFTER SAYING IT IS NOT RACIST TO FEAR IMMIGRATION. Article mostly featuring responses from Twitter condemning the Archbishop for his comments. No mention of his comments about helping refugees.

Daily Mirror: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SAYS IT’S NOT RACIST TO FEAR MIGRATION. No mention of his comments about helping refugees.

Huffington Post: ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SAYS IT’S ‘ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS’ TO LABEL PEOPLE WHO FEAR MIGRATION AS ‘RACIST’. Puts the remarks about Britain doing more to help refugees right near the end of the article.

The Sun: FEARS ABOUT MASS IMMIGRATION ARE COMPLETELY REASONABLE, SAYS ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY. Claims that the Archbishop’s comments demonstrate a ‘huge shift in tone‘ from his previous statements. Puts the remarks about Britain doing more to help refugees right near the end of the article.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

THE DOCTOR WHO REPORTED THE MUSLIM SURGEON: THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS SUSPENSION

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A story has been doing the rounds over the past few days concerning that thorny issue of Muslim women’s attire. It features a Czech-born doctor who has been suspended from a Sheffield hospital following a dispute with a female colleague over her refusing to remove her hijab during an operation.

Dr Vladislav Rogozov  reportedly confronted the unnamed surgeon who refused to remove the headscarf – which he says contained specks of blood from previous procedures – and abandoned the operation at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital before reportedly accusing Dr Rogozov of racial discrimination.

Although the incident took place in 2013, the story appeared this week in The Sun (TOP DOC AXED IN BUST-UP AFTER REPORTING MUSLIM SURGEON’S HIJAB WAS ‘SPOTTED WITH BLOOD’ BEFORE AN NHS OPERATION) before being picked up by The Daily Mail (CONSULTANT IS SUSPENDED BY HOSPITAL AFTER CONFRONTING SURGEON WHO PLANNED TO OPERATE IN HER HIJAB DESPITE IT BEING AGAINST SAFETY REGULATIONS), The Daily Mirror (NHS CONSULTANT SUSPENDED AFTER ‘RACIAL DISCRIMINATION’ CLAIMS WHEN HE DEMANDED MUSLIM SURGEON REMOVED HER HIJAB) and The Daily Telegraph.

So far, so scandalous. A doctor accused of racism and dismissed simply for following a hospital dress code in the interests of patient health and safety? Certainly sounds like a case of ‘political correctness gone mad‘.

But on closer inspection things appear a little different. For a start, despite what the headlines say, Dr Rogozov was NOT dismissed following this incident. The hospital backed him following an investigation and the female surgeon was the one to leave the hospital.

The Sun does at least make this fairly clear in its article, but The Mail and The Mirror are more misleading. The Mail reports in its byline that a ‘complaint was raised against Dr Rogozov and he was suspended‘ before giving the truer account some five paragraphs into the article, whereas The Mirror doesn’t even mention these facts.

The real reason for the doctor’s suspension, it emerges, is because he recently spoke of this and incidents involving other colleagues in an interview with an overseas online blog. His comments were then repeated in a Slovakian newspaper and a Czech website.

He has been suspended pending an inquiry, which is a standard procedure in such circumstances. According to social media guidelines issued by the British Medical Association, doctors and medical students are advised against speaking informally about work practices on websites and forums and it’s considered ‘particularly inappropriate‘ to make negative comments about colleagues.

Spokesman for the hospital Dr David Throssel confirmed that the suspension had nothing to do with raising patient safety issues but about concerns raised about the tone of the comments in the blog. ‘The content and nature of the views published are currently being investigated‘, he said.

The hospital may have good cause for concern if the tone in the interview is anything like that on Dr Rogozov’s blog (in his native Czech language) which focuses on the ‘ongoing Islamisation of Britain‘. In a series of posts claiming that Britain is being destroyed by multiculturalism, he compares his hometown of Sheffield to Pakistan and makes absurd claims such as 80% of young London Muslims sympathise with ISIS and that Islam will be the dominant religion in the UK within 20 years. (you can visit the blog and put a random paragraph into Google Translate to get an idea of the ‘tone’ used).

One wonders, given the nature of the blog, whether there’s more than meets the eye to the original incident and racial discrimination accusations. But this is pure speculation. The facts as they present themselves suggest that the hospital dealt fairly with the initial dispute and are now launching a justifiable inquiry into a European doctor who seems to be doubling up as some kind of PEGIDA spokesman. Certainly not the ‘political correctness gone mad‘ tale the newspapers were trying to imply.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.

ANOTHER DAILY EXPRESS ARTICLE ON MIGRATION THAT DOESN’T ADD UP

Greece Migrants
(AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

On Wednesday, The Daily Express published an article with the headline MIGRATION TO EUROPE HAS ROCKETED THIRTY-FOLD THIS YEAR ALONE… AND THE EU ‘IS TO BLAME’. In this article, there were a number of factual inaccuracies.

1. The article reports on total migration to Europe, whereas the press release where the figures are taken from (published by the International Organisation for Migration) concerns Mediterranean migrant arrivals – using its trademark inflammatory language, the paper reports that ‘131,724 people have already flooded into the continent this year‘. The figures are taken from an IoM report about sea-based arrivals to Greece and Italy so far this year. The figures are high due to the current refugee crisis, with the vast majority arriving from Syria (56,000), Afghanistan (31,500) and Iraq (20,500).

2. The article greatly exaggerates the level of increase – the paper reports of a 30-fold increase, whereas the actual level of increase for January and February compared to last year is around 11 times greater. The number of arrivals to Greece and Italy last year was 11,834 for January and February.

3. The article incorrectly states that the UN blames the EU for the increase in arrivals – ‘The UN has blamed the major increase in arrivals largely on EU member states’ inability to reach agreements‘, the paper reports. But the UN criticism of European governments had nothing to do with the numbers arriving, it was concerned with humanitarian implications of their insufficient response. The UN spokesman Adrian Edwards was critical of those countries imposing border restrictions. He blamed ‘inconsistent practices‘ for ‘causing unnecessary suffering and risk… at variance with EU and international law standards‘ before adding that ‘more resources and better coordination‘ was needed.

So the IoM reports that there’s been an increase in refugees arriving via the Mediterranean in the last year and the UN expresses humanitarian concerns about how European countries are dealing with it. With a couple of tweaks, The Daily Express sells it as an exaggerated increase in total migration to Europe and erroneously lays the blame on EU ‘open borders‘.

Note: 130,000 arriving in two months sounds like a high number, and it’s worrying that so many are arriving via the sea as refugees. But the figures need to be put in perspective. Immigration of non-EU nationals to EU countries is regularly around 1.3 to 1.4 million per annum, with the net figure (once emigration has been accounted for) at around 500,000 to 750,000. Bearing in mind that the total population of all EU countries is just over 500 million, even a net increase of 1 million per year would amount to just a 0.2% increase of total population.

Original Daily Express article available here.

Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.